Yob jailed after knife attack

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A DRINK-fuelled yob has been jailed for stabbing a man after mistakenly believing his victim was harassing a girl.

Steven Hardy claimed he was a “paranoid schizo” who could not control his actions when he feels “insecure” and he “just lashed out and ended up stabbing” Robert Wilkinson, a court heard.

Hardy could be released within days after Durham Crown Court Recorder Duncan Smith sentenced him to 12 months in prison, with six months to be served in custody and 182 days on remand to be taken into account.

He told Hardy: “You should know that carrying a knife inevitably leads to a prison sentence, because it’s only when people carry knives in the street that people are stabbed in street-fighting.”

The court heard Hardy lunged a six-inch blade into Mr Wilkinson’s abdomen after he wrongly thought his victim was talking inappropriately to a girl.

The court was told Hardy, 24, had been drinking alcohol and sniffing gas from a canister while with a group of friends in Shotton Colliery around 7.30pm on April 19.

Prosecutor John Gillette said Hardy “took exception” to the way Mr Wilkinson was talking to a girl, though she said the conversation was fine.

Mr Gillette said Hardy was kicked in the head by a third party, then an argument followed between Hardy and Mr Wilkinson.

The prosecutor said before the argument became physical, Hardy pulled out a knife.

He added that the weapon was not initially used, but the dispute continued and Hardy grabbed hold of Mr Wilkinson and a “scuffle” followed.

“The defendant made off, but the complainant realised he had been stabbed,” added Mr Gillette.

“That was readily apparent given the amount of blood that was on his T-shirt.”

Mr Wilkinson was taken by ambulance to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, where doctors said the two-inch wide, two-inch deep wound was superficial.

The court heard Hardy was arrested and in police interview said: “What with me being paranoid schizo I started panicking.

“When I feel insecure I just can’t control what I’m doing, I just lashed out and ended up stabbing him.”

Hardy, of West Street, Shotton Colliery, admitted wounding with intent and possessing a bladed article.

Robert Spragg, mitigating, said the nature of the offence was in the lower end of its category of seriousness, there had been a single blow and Hardy “was certainly someone suffering from anxiety at the time”.